8 Ways to Beat Burnout and Reclaim Your Life

by | Sep 17, 2020 | Blog

Does the sound of your alarm clock each morning fill you with dread? That sound signals the start of the day, and if your schedule is constantly so packed that you barely have time to think, it’s no wonder that you would rather stay in bed. You may think that hitting snooze a few times will give you the energy you need to make it to the coffee pot, but even that may not be enough. But the question that is likely on repeat in your mind is, when did I get so busy?

After you make it through your morning routine and begin your workday, you might feel like all of your energy for the day has been spent. Now you have to work while struggling to focus, battling fatigue, and trying not to let the little things throughout the day irritate you. If you can relate to this, you may be struggling with burnout.

The good news is that you can overcome burnout and get back to feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. In this post, we are going to talk about burnout and things you can do to get rid of that morning dread and start being excited about living your life again.

What Is Burnout?

Heavy workloads, long hours in the office, and personal life obligations may have you feeling stretched too thin. But aren’t all professionals that are trying to create a proper work/life balance struggling with this? While most people do battle the stresses of work and everyday life, there are times where relentless work and stress can push you into an almost debilitating state, known as burnout. So what is it?

According to Psychology Today, “Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged and repeated stress.”

From that definition, you can tell that burnout is way more than a bad day or a few days; it’s a perpetual feeling that can affect your physical and mental health. Even though burnout doesn’t have a specific medical diagnosis, some common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Feeling tired and drained all of the time
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • A change of appetite and sleep habits
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • A sense of failure and increased self-doubt
  • Skipping work or coming in late or leaving early
  • Loss of focus and taking longer to get things done
  • Irritability and taking your frustration out on others
  • Detachment or isolating yourself from others

Simple Ways To Beat Burnout

Wow, that really sounds like a lot and probably has you a little worried. The good news that even though burnout may feel like a battle you cannot win right now; once you recognize it and start working on it, you can leave the fight a champion. There are many things you can do to fight back against burnout, but the key is to try new things and repeat the ones that resonate with you. Here are some simple practices to try:

Eliminate Unnecessary Stressors in Your Life

The easiest way to prevent chronic stress is to eliminate unnecessary stress. We admit, that probably sounds easier said than done, but when you are chronically stressed and overwhelmed, you have to eliminate as much as you can.

By eliminating stressors, we don’t mean that you should quit being a member of the PTA because there is a weekly meeting if you truly enjoy it. What we mean is looking at the things that are bringing you the most stress in your life and getting to the root cause of why it is stressing you out. Maybe you have set unachievable deadlines, or you struggle with saying no when asked to work on a new project. Whatever it is, take a deep look and come up with a plan to help lighten your overload.

Learn How to Mentally Detach From Work and Focus in the Present

Even though you have clocked out for the day and left the building, have you actually left work, or have you just changed your scenery and surroundings? Leaving the office for the day doesn’t mean you have actually ended your workday. You may be mentally going over a big project with an upcoming deadline, and after your project stress takes over, you may find yourself accessing your email from home and working on the very thing that has been haunting you.

Your first thought may be to take a vacation, and while that will help you temporarily, it won’t have a prolonged effect. The key is to be able to mentally detach from work quickly after you have completed your day. There isn’t a set best practice for doing this, but some ideas to mentally detach from work include:

  • Create an evening routine that will help you transition from work to personal
  • Do not check your work email during personal time
  • Delete your email account off of your phone if you can’t resist checking it
  • Practice being present
  • Take the long way home so that you have a little alone time to wind down

Focus on Progress

When you have a large project or goal with no end in sight, you can easily fall into a negative outlook and feel like you will never get it done. Even though you are making progress, it can get lost in the overwhelm.

Instead of beating yourself up over the endgame, switch your perspective into a positive one. Break your goal or project up into smaller goals and focus on completing those. The bigger goal won’t feel so overwhelming or unachievable when you have a step-by-step plan to get there. When you conquer one of those smaller goals, take time to celebrate it.

Determine Where Your Time Is Going

If you look at the clock and constantly wonder where the day went, you likely do not have control of your time or day.

Get better control of your day by using a calendar to schedule everything. By everything, we don’t just mean meetings, project deadlines, and after school events. We mean scheduling breaks, gym time, relaxation time, errands, weekend chores, and more. When you can clearly see what your days are filled with, you will have better control of your time. So when your friend asks if you can help them move Saturday, but you already have three other obligations, you don’t just go with a default yes and figure it out later. You can see if you have the availability and if you don’t offer to help at a later time.

Ask for Help

For some reason, there is a stigma on asking for help. This misconception stems from people feeling like if they ask for help, they are not adequately living their lives. Well, that simply isn’t true. In fact, it is the opposite. The ability to ask for help makes you stronger, mentally and physically.

Asking for help doesn’t have to be complicated. Maybe you can ask a coworker, or maybe you need the support of an assistant. Getting help isn’t just for the workplace, either. Just like you have people that come over to take care of your plumbing or heat and air, you can have a personal assistant take care of your every day or weekly tasks that eat away at your personal time. Click here to learn more about how an assistant can help you get your time back.

Relax, Relax, Relax

While relaxing may feel like a no-brainer, we simply don’t do it, or we think that the few minutes before bed is enough. And while a few minutes is better than nothing, let’s face it, we could all use a good Netflix binge day. Scheduling a little time every day to relax and more relaxation time during the weekend could be key to fighting off burnout. Even though you may struggle with not doing something in the beginning, when you start to feel the benefits of relaxation, the guilt you once felt will fade away. Give yourself the time you need to recharge.

Practice Self-Care Daily

In order to start feeling like your old self again, you have to prioritize yourself. Doing so won’t make you selfish or take away all of your free time. In fact, there are numerous self-care practices that you can do that will only take a few minutes from your day, but the benefit is much greater than that. We have a whole blog post of easy ways you can practice self-care every day. To read our post, click here.

Start or Indulge in a Hobby

When your outlook on life is grim, starting or indulging in a hobby may seem like the last thing you want to do. But that feeling is your stress telling you it wants to stay around. When you take time for the things you enjoy, your mindset will shift more toward the positive. You’ll look forward to free-time and find it easier to disconnect from work when you leave. Having a hobby is not only a fun way to spend your time, but it is also therapeutic.

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